While the sentiment is right this isn’t disproof

Already, the Conservatives have announced plans to introduce a bill to make photo ID mandatory from 2023 for all UK-wide and English elections. There’s no obvious need for it: there was only one conviction for “personation” fraud in the UK in 2019.

ID cards are, of course a vile idea. But that we convict few of personation is not an argument against them. For the absence of the convictions is not evidence of the absence of the crime. It’s evidence – possibly – of the absence of the ability to convict for it.

19 thoughts on “While the sentiment is right this isn’t disproof”

  1. Are they also suggesting that a lack of convictions for rape is evidence of a low incidence of rape?

  2. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, or of course of presence.

    I’ll admit my preference is simply to abolish the lockdown and let people out to do as they wish.

    But I don’t live in the UK. This decision should be one for its citizens.

  3. We had this discussion not long ago. Right hammer, wrong nail. The problem is not personation or dead voters, but the farming of postal votes. Strangely for someone as opposed to compulsory ID as me, I do not have a massive problem proving my identification at the polling station.

    Not sure how we can solve the problem aside from massive restrictions on who can vote by post or some form of biometric identification on the ballot paper.

  4. An easy start to sorting out postal voting would be to examine the feasibility of the number of voters registered to each address. ISTR a case that came to light (but not until after the vote was completed) of something like a couple of dozen people being registered to the same 2-bed flat in Londonistan. It won’t stop the “farming” but it could reduce the size of the herd.

  5. As others have pointed out here before, it’s postal voting that’s the most vulnerable to ‘vote-farming’ and therefore fraud.

    Coincidentally, both the Labour party here and the Dems in the US are very keen on increasing the number of postal voters, though I’m sure it’s out of a genuine concern for democracy….

  6. Chris, not if the fraudster gets in early. Anyone can bowl up to a polling station and say they are Charlie Farnsbarns of 32 Acacia Avenue and vote. The real Mr Farnsbarns might not try and vote until the evening. Voting fraudulently multiple times at the same polling station is probably not a good idea though.

  7. They’re right, but using the wrong argument. The correct argument is to describe the whole process of successful personation and how pathetically effective and hopelessly efficient it is. And then compare it to absentee voting fraud.

  8. Personation can work like this:
    You go out canvassing.
    You knock on the door of 32 Acacia Avenue.
    Charlie Farnsbarns tells you he never votes.
    In this way, you build up a list of people who never vote.

    Come polling day, the list is divvied up between several activists, who travel from polling station to pollting station casting votes for their approved candidate.

  9. As for postal voting, fraud could easily be massively reduced by one simple measure:

    Anyone who wants a postal vote can have one, BU they have to go to a Post Office or Council Office and present photo id in the six/nine/twelve months prior to the sending-out date of the postal votes.

  10. @ CJ Nerd
    Actually ersonation is easier than that. The returning officers record who has voted. The information is passed to the political parties, so they can build up a history and pick out the names who never vote.

  11. So what happens when you don’t have Photo id?

    I have a firearms certificate which has a photo on it. Many places don’t accept that and they make it more difficult every time to renew. I have an old Drivers License and not the KGB style one they have now and I don’t have a passport any more. No point.

    So I can’t vote unless I register for an Id card.

    So back to compulsory Id cards for all. The full intent of that legislation.

  12. Lord T – donkeys ago I had a shotgun cert. One weekend headed into town to pick up some cartridges, decided to pop into the bank to sort something out (can’t remember what).

    At the bank, got asked for ID – slightly surprisingly. Hoicked out the cert, which was met with general confusion.

    “Can’t accept that as ID.”

    “Why? It’s got my photo on it, and it’s signed by the Chief Constable.”

    “Umm, ahh. Errr, back in a moment.”

    New bloke comes back – “Sorry, he’s new here.”

  13. There’s another form of voter fraud I discovered (it was sort of perpetrated on me, not that I did it). You can register yourself to vote at any address you like, and as long as you do it in the run up to the deadline for registrations (which is increasingly close to the voting day) your name will be put on the list and you can vote under that address no problem. Even if the householder contacts the local council to say its a fraudulent registration it won’t be removed in time for the election and would be valid to vote under.

    It happened to me, my neighbour had a lodger who registered himself on the Electoral Register but put my address, not where he was living (its one number different). The first thing I knew about it was when his voting card arrived in the post with mine. As the name wasn’t the same as my neighbours I had no idea who it was, so phoned the council to say this person didn’t live at my address and should be removed from the register. But when I voted I looked at the list and his name was still there and he presumably could have voted no problem. Some time after the election I received a letter saying the name had been expunged, but I doubt any vote thus gained would be removed from the count. It would be quite easy to register yourself at an address in every ward in a constituency and vote at every polling station with virtually no chance of being found out. There are approximately 40 polling stations in my constituency, so 50 people could easily harvest several thousand votes. More if they were a bit more brazen about it and voted twice at the same polling station, which I’m sure would be possible at the more busy ones.

  14. Labour want to extend postal voting. To France, for example, or Lahore. Only a racist could oppose this.

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